PM wants chance to act on pandemic lessons

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Scott Morrison wants a chance to act on lessons learned during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The prime minister said this included bolstering supply chains and local manufacturing, and the need for more investment in upskilling workers.

Voting his government back in would give the LNP "the opportunity to put into practice all the things ... learned during the course of this pandemic", Mr Morrison said while campaigning in Melbourne on Friday.

But Labor leader Anthony Albanese was quick to react to the plea, saying the prime minister had no plans for the future.

"He struggles with the present, and he never learns from past mistakes. That's why he keeps repeating them," Mr Albanese said in Queensland.

The federal government's pandemic response has faced heavy criticism, particularly over the rollout of coronavirus vaccines and the shortage of rapid tests during the Christmas surge.

While arguments persist over the COVID-19 response, pathology test manufacturers want the government to green light existing rapid flu tests for use in Australia.

Pathology Technology Australia CEO Dean Whiting said rapid flu tests, similar to the rapid COVID-19 tests people are now familiar with, could help decide what treatments patients need faster.

He said there was an opportunity to learn from the coronavirus pandemic when it came to combating influenza and the federal government just had to approve already existing technology for use in Australia.

"We're still early in influenza season, so there is an opportunity for the government to make interventions that could have an instant impact," Mr Whiting said.

Health workers are bracing for a tough flu season this year as they grapple with a steady rate of coronavirus cases in the community.

Meanwhile, University of Florida researchers say steroids can cut death rates by more than 50 per cent in patients hospitalised with long COVID-19 upon discharge.

Researchers went through the health records of more than 1200 adults hospitalised with the virus in the past two years.

They found patients with the highest levels of an inflammation marker also had the highest risk of dying within a year of being discharged.

The common lasting symptoms are fatigue, shortness of breath, cough, joint pain and chest pain, according to researchers.

But the silver lining, as signalled in the journal Frontiers in Medicine, is that prescribing steroids cut the risk of dying by 51 per cent.


NSW: 12,020 new cases, 13 deaths, 1398 in hospital with 60 in ICU

Victoria: 13,181 new cases, 18 deaths, 491 in hospital with 25 in ICU

Tasmania: 1118 new cases, two deaths, 39 in hospital with one in ICU

Queensland: 6555 new cases, 12 deaths, 407 in hospital with 11 in ICU

WA: 15,565 new cases, three deaths, 279 in hospital with 12 in ICU

NT: 319 new cases, no deaths, 16 in hospital with none in ICU

ACT: 1217 new cases, no deaths, 74 in hospital with four in ICU

SA: 4616 new cases, three deaths, 229 in hospital with 10 in ICU.

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